Turkey's Foreign Ministry late Monday summoned the ambassadors of Germany, Italy and the European Union to protest the illegal interception of a Libya-bound Turkish vessel during the European Union-led Operation Irini in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"The countries in question have been sent a diplomatic note. In the note, it was emphasized that the incident was against international law and that our rights for compensation are reserved," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
"Operation Irini is a sided operation. It is an operation that aims to punish the legitimate Libyan government and does not inspect arms supplies to the putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar, and is involved in arbitrary practices," Aksoy previously reiterated.
A German frigate participating in the EU-led Operation Irini unlawfully stopped and searched a commercial Turkish cargo vessel, carrying food and paint supplies to Libya, in the Eastern Mediterranean, security sources said.
Footage obtained from the interception showed armed soldiers boarding the ship in a manner that resembled a counterterrorism operation.
Confirming a report in the news magazine Der Spiegel, a German spokesman said the Hamburg frigate had intercepted the ROSELINE A about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the Libyan city of Benghazi on Sunday night.
Aksoy noted that the Turkish vessel's captain cooperated with Operation Irini forces and shared extensive information about the vessel’s cargo and navigation but faced an hourslong inspection despite their cooperation.
"All the staff was detained and the captain was held at gunpoint by soldiers during the inspection," Aksoy said. He added that the search was conducted without the approval of the vessel's country of origin.
He continued by noting that the intervention only ended after Turkey's insistent objection to the unlawful search.
Aksoy strongly condemned the search of the commercial Turkish vessel and the treatment of its staff as criminals.
He highlighted that such an interception in international waters requires the approval of the flag country and that United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions do not stamp out this obligation.
Aksoy also said the European mission has adopted a double standard against the legitimate government in Libya and specifically targets commercial vessels heading to Libya from Turkey.